Wells Fargo illegally claimed customers were liable for unauthorized transfers, bank fraud victims say, in new class-action lawsuit filed in federal court

Wells Fargo is facing a new proposed class action lawsuit that accuses it of breaking the law by forcing customers to accept responsibility for unauthorized transfers.

suitThe suit, filed in Pennsylvania federal court by Jennifer Rice and Eric Westervelt, alleges that Wells Fargo routinely violates the Electronic Funds Transfer Act by not reimbursing victims for their losses.

The couple said they received a call in December 2023 from someone claiming to be from Wells Fargo, who told them they had detected a fraudulent wire transfer of $24,557.89 into their account.

The person on the phone said they could stop the transfer as long as he could confirm the six-digit code sent to him.

When Westervelt verified the code, $24,557.89 disappeared from the joint account via a wire transfer to the account of an unknown user at Discover Bank.

When Westervelt realized he was talking to a fraudster, he immediately went to the local Wells Fargo branch and reported the incident. The bank’s fraud department confirmed that money had been withdrawn from his account and that they would investigate the incident.

But seven days later, Wells Fargo called Westervelt and Rice to tell them the money wouldn’t be refunded because they were the ones who “authorized” the transfer. The two say they did no such thing and claim Wells Fargo went back and forth multiple times between promising to return the money and then changing its stance.

The plaintiffs have cited the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, which states,

“The Consumer is not liable for any unauthorized electronic funds transfer, unless such transfer is made using an approved card for the Account and the issuing institution has provided a means of identifying the individual using said approved card.”

The suit is filed against Westervelt and Rice and seeks statutory damages of $1,000 for each class member, plus fees, costs and a jury trial.

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